It is the Blue Jays' hope that Ricky Romero can follow in the footsteps of former ace Roy Halladay.
Romero did that in one regard on Monday, when he became the first Blue Jays pitcher to be named American League Player of the Week since Halladay did it more than two years ago.
Romero garnered the award for the first time in his career by going 2-0 with a 1.69 ERA through two starts last week, during which he struck out 12, walked four and gave up five hits in 16 innings.
Against the Rays on Tuesday, the 26-year-old left-hander twirled eight innings of one-run ball in a 3-1 win, holding Tampa Bay hitless through the first five innings at Tropicana Field. Then, on Sunday, Romero gave up two runs in eight innings in a 7-2 win over the Orioles, not allowing a walk for the first time since Opening Day.
"You can't overstate what Ricky did today in probably close to 100-degree temperatures," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said after that game. "Just a very good game. He's gotten into the groove he was in pre-All Star break."
With that, Romero moved to 10-9 with a 2.94 ERA and 138 strikeouts, putting him on pace to reach new heights in his third season in the big leagues.
Romero becomes the second Blue Jays player to be named AL Player of the Week this year, joining Jose Bautista, who shared the honors with Athletics starter Gio Gonzalez on July 3. He's also the first Blue Jays pitcher to gain the honor since Halladay on May 18, 2009.
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and his blog, listen to his podcast and follow him on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.